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    May 28, 2015

    From a raped 10-year-old girl denied an abortion in Paraguay, to women imprisoned in El Salvador after having a miscarriage, millions of women and girls all over Latin America are suffering because of outdated and discriminatory abortion laws and policies, said Amnesty International.

    “Today, on the International Day of Action for Women’s Health, from the Caribbean to South America countless women and girls are suffering terribly from cruel and draconian laws and policies that violate their human right to make choices about their own bodies, health and lives,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Sadly there is still a long way to go.  Earlier this week, Peru’s Justice Commission in Congress let rape victims down by passing up the chance to ensure women and girls that are victims of rape have the option to access safe and legal abortion services.

    “In Paraguay the future of a 10-year-old girl still hangs in the balance.

    April 28, 2015

    (Ottawa, April 28, 2015) The mother of one of 46 students from a teacher-training college in the Mexican community of Ayotzinapa who were killed or forcibly disappeared during a September 2014 attack by Mexican police and gunmen will testify before Parliament’s Subcommittee on International Human Rights this afternoon, along with a surviving student and a lawyer for the families of the victims.

    Their goal is to make visible a disturbing pattern of grave abuses perpetrated by state security forces, and call for attention to serious failures on the part of government authorities to protect human rights in Mexico, a country that Canada has designated a so-called “safe country”.

    The members of the Mexican delegation who will testify to Canadian MPs are:

    • Hilda Legideño Vargas, whose son Jorge Antonio was forcibly disappeared in the September 2014 attack;

    • Jorge Luis Clemente Balbuena, a student leader at the Ayotzinapa teachers’ college;

    April 08, 2015

    On 14 April, the anniversary of the abduction of the schoolgirls from Chibok, Amnesty International will be releasing a report on Boko Haram.

    The report, ‘Our job is to shoot, slaughter and kill’: Boko Haram’s reign of terror in north-east Nigeria, documents war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the armed group. It provides evidence of the scale and depravity of Boko Haram’s human rights abuses, as well as detailed new information about the abduction of women and girls and the conditions faced by those abducted.

    The report catalogues serious human rights abuses which amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity and explores the way in which Boko Haram is structured, operates, recruits, organizes and sustains itself offering chilling insights into life in Boko Haram territories and camps.

    It also includes new satellite images offering evidence of the destruction left by Boko Haram as they retreated from the advancing Nigerian military in March 2015.

    March 27, 2015

    Amnesty International to launch report on mounting threats and attacks on women human rights defenders in Afghanistan

    On 7 April 2015, a new Amnesty International report will document how women human rights defenders in Afghanistan are facing growing attacks and violence from all sides – Taliban, local commanders, government officials and family members.

    Institutional indifference by the Afghan authorities mean most women defenders lack adequate protection and perpetrators are almost never held to account.

    The report will be launched with a press conference in Kabul on 7 April, which will be attended by Amnesty International’s Secretary General Salil Shetty as well as Afghan women rights activists. Spokespeople are available in Kabul and London.

    On 8-9 April, Amnesty International will also co-organize a human rights conference in Kabul together with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

    For further information, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

     

     

    March 26, 2015

    Mass surveillance, particularly indiscriminate US and UK collection of online data, requires the prompt attention of the United Nation’s new privacy watchdog, Amnesty International said today.

    Amnesty International and other NGOs had called for the creation of a ‘Special Rapporteur’ on the right to privacy, a new expert role set up today by the UN Human Rights Council, in response to efforts to expand surveillance powers and bulk collection of personal data, most recently in France and Canada. Governments are prohibited from arbitrary interference with peoples’ right to privacy by international law.

    “UN action is essential to analyze the impact of surveillance on privacy and free speech. Security agencies show a misguided and ever-growing appetite for data collection; someone has to watch the watchers,” said Peter Splinter, Amnesty International Representative to the United Nations in Geneva. 

    March 26, 2015

    Mexican authorities have made shamefully little progress in their investigation into the enforced disappearance of 43 student teachers from Guerrero State, said Amnesty International today, six months on from the tragedy.

    “The past six months have been a period of heartbreak and torment for the family and friends of those who were forcibly disappeared last September. Despite worldwide attention on the issue, the Mexican authorities have failed to properly pursue all lines of investigation, especially the worrying allegations of complicity by armed forces. The Mexican authorities cannot wait even one day more, but must act now to bring those responsible to justice,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director Amnesty International.

    “Six hours after the students went missing we were worried for their safety. Six weeks on we were frustrated and saddened by the lack of progress in the search for their whereabouts. But now, six months later, we are absolutely horrified by the abject failure of the Mexican government to get to the full truth of what happened to these young men and bring those responsible to justice.”

    March 24, 2015

    Utah’s decision to turn to the firing squad if it is unable to secure drugs for lethal injection is the latest attempt by a US state to keep alive a punishment that should have long ago been consigned to the history books, said Amnesty International today.

    “Whether by shooting, lethal injection, hanging, asphyxiation or electrocution, the death penalty is a cruel, brutalizing and outdated punishment that is a symptom of violence, not a solution to it. The Utah legislature should be expending its energies on abolishing the death penalty, not trying to fix the unfixable,” said Rob Freer, USA researcher Amnesty International.

    On Monday 23 March, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a law allowing the use of firing squads when the drugs needed to administer the lethal injection was not available.

    This move clearly goes against the global and national trend towards abolition of the death penalty. Since 2007 six US states have abolished the death penalty for all crimes and the governors of Oregon, Washington and, in 2015, Pennsylvania have established moratoriums on executions in their states.

    March 23, 2015

    On the passing on Singapore’s former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Research Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “Our thoughts and sympathies go out to the family of Lee Kuan Yew and others who mourn his passing.”

    “Lee Kuan Yew more than anyone else built modern Singapore, and his legacy will be unrivalled economic progress and development. There is, however, a dark side to what he leaves behind – too often, basic freedoms and human rights were sacrificed to ensure economic growth. Restrictions on freedom of expression and the silencing of criticism is still part of the daily reality for Singaporeans.”

    “Lee Kuan Yew’s passing, just a few months short of Singapore’s 50th anniversary of independence, happens just as the country enters a new era. We urge the next generation of leaders to ensure that this is marked by genuine respect for human rights.”

    March 18, 2015

    El Salvador’s government must take the opportunity to reform its draconian abortion law, said Amnesty International today as the country responds to a series of recommendations, mostly relating to abortion and gender discrimination, during its Universal Periodic Review (UPR), at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

    "El Salvador has one of the most draconian abortion laws in the world, criminalizing abortion on all grounds, even when a woman or girl’s life or health is in danger and even in cases of rape and incest. This restrictive law has put women and girls at the brink of death,” said Amnesty International Americas Director Erika Guevara Rosas.

    “El Salvador is expected to accept its duty to provide access to sexual health services and contraception, as recommended by states at the UN. We would welcome that step forward. But picking and choosing which recommendations to follow may leave in place a total ban on abortion. Dozens of women are in jail for pregnancy-related complications, some of them facing up to 40 years behind bars.”

    February 19, 2015

    Iranian officials’ refusal to provide the family of Saman Naseem, a death row juvenile offender who was due to be executed this morning, with information about his fate and whereabouts has sparked fears that he is at risk of being tortured or secretly executed, said Amnesty International.

    Saman Naseem was transferred from Oroumieh Central Prison to an unknown location on 18 February 2015. Prison officials told the family to collect his belongings on Saturday.

    “The lack of news about Saman Naseem’s fate or whereabouts with prison officers denying his family any information is cruel and inhuman,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    February 18, 2015

    The Indonesian government must halt the imminent execution of 11 people and scrap plans to put even more people to death this year, Amnesty International said in an open letter to President Joko Widodo today.

    Indonesia’s Attorney General has confirmed that 11 executions of death row prisoners convicted for drug trafficking and murder will be carried out imminently. The prisoners include both foreigners and Indonesian nationals.

    February 16, 2015

    The decision by the UN Human Rights Council to delay, until September, the release of a key report into widespread human rights violations during the conflict in Sri Lanka must not allow the perpetrators of horrific crimes during the country’s armed conflict to escape punishment, said Amnesty International.

    “Sri Lankan victims of human rights violations deserve truth and justice. Survivors of torture, including sexual abuse, people whose family members were killed or forcibly disappeared have waited a long time for this report,” said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific Director.

    “A delay is only justifiable if more time will lead to a stronger document and to a concrete commitment by the new Sri Lankan authorities to actively pursue accountability. This includes by co-operating with the UN to investigate conflict-era abuses and bring perpetrators to justice.”

    The Human Rights Council must also be vigilant and ensure that all those coming forward to give testimony are protected from any potential threats from those who do not want justice to prevail.

    February 13, 2015

    The Mexican government must take serious steps to tackle the disappearance of thousands of people, said Amnesty International as the United Nation’s Committee on Enforced Disappearances prepares to publish recommendations to the country today.

    “More than 22,600 people have disappeared or gone missing in Mexico in the past eight years. Meanwhile thousands more people wait in anguish and turmoil unsure of what has happened to their loved ones. The recommendations to the Mexican government cannot just be baseless words, but instead must herald a tangible and urgent change in policy and legislation to address this chronic situation. It is time for the authorities to wake up to this tragedy,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    Last week the UN Committee reviewed the situation in Mexico and heard from victims and human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, in Geneva. The UN body will publish its recommendations to the Mexican government today.

    February 12, 2015

    Amnesty International is reiterating its calls for the release of the Al Jazeera journalists Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy as their retrial began in Cairo today.

    “The notion that Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy now have to start this farcical process from scratch beggars belief,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahroui, Amnesty International’s Depuy Middle East and North Africa Director.
    "The message today's trial sends is that there is no justice for Egyptians."

    The men have been in prison for more than a year. Their earlier convictions were overturned after a deeply flawed trial.

    “It is crucial that Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy's continuing ordeal is not forgotten, particularly now that their Australian colleague Peter Greste is a free man. Like him, they are guilty of nothing more than carrying out their jobs as journalists. There is no reason that they should remain behind bars. The authorities should put an immediate end to their torment by dropping the charges and releasing them immediately and unconditionally,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.

    February 09, 2015

    The Mexican government must urgently address serious flaws in its investigation into the enforced disappearance of 43 students after forensic experts cast major doubts on the Attorney General’s inquiry, said Amnesty International today.

    The recent report from the  Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (Equipo Argentino de Antropología Forense, EAAF), - network of professional forensic experts, reveals that the announcement by the Attorney General of Mexico, Jesús Murillo Karam, that he was prepared to close the case after human remains were found in Cocula dump were based on assumptions and completely premature. The EEAF stated that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that the human remains found in Cocula are those of the missing students.

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